Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the mend

Breathe in.....breathe out. Sometimes I forget these two simple tasks. Taking the time to take it all in has been a lost art as of late. I looked up from my powdered sugar - covered counter top one day, and the summer had ended without my knowledge. My favorite time of year was passing me by without a second to enjoy it. That transition period between the hot humid summer, and the crisp cool fall, that's the best part, and I was missing it.

Not this week. I am taking the time this week to sit on my deck with a big spicy glass of zinfandel, in a big cozy sweater, and read or write, or do nothing at all besides sit, stare, and sip my wine. I just wrapped up another quarter of school, and it all finally caught up to me. The five hours of precious sleep a night, the guilt of not having talked to my parents or friends in weeks, the constant streaming to do list in my head, it can wreak havoc on one's body.

So this week, I am on the mend. Catching up with the emails and the phone calls, catching up on my sleep, taking some time to relax, and putting some good food into my body, that is all that is on my to do list now.

This cake, although I made it over a month ago and am just now getting around to posting it, would be near the top of my list of nourishing foods right now. It is just chocked full of blackberries, so you almost feel like you are eating something healthy (even though we all know it is still a cake). With a little bit of ice cream, and it is perfect for those lingering warm afternoons, and ever so slightly chilly evenings. Here's to the last days of summer, and a big warm welcome to the autumn months.

Blackberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake
recipe from Bon Apetit Magazine

The original recipe calls for making this cake in a deep spring-form pan, I made it in two 9 inch cake pans for a thinner cake. I actually liked the thinness of my cakes, because there was a higher blackberry to cake ratio that way. If you would like to use both of them, you could sandwich some freshly whipped cream in between the two stacked layers, or just serve a single layer by itself, with some ice cream like I did.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/3 cups sugar + 1/4 cup for dusting blackberries
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
zest of 1 large orange
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment, and then butter and flour pan. Toss berries with the 1/4 cup sugar, and spread them in an even layer on the bottom of each pan.

Split the vanilla bean and with the back of a knife, scrape out the seeds and mix them with the buttermilk. Set aside.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and remaining sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.

On low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour, and the other half of the buttermilk, scraping down the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Mix in the last 1/3 of the flour just until incorporated. Split the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the top for even cooking.

Bake cakes on middle rack until golden brown, and the cake springs back when pushed gently with a fingertip, or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30-45 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack with the berries facing up and let cool completely.

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